It says a lot about Kölsch’s standing in the electronic music community that he is the second artist to appear on the relaunched ‘fabric presents…’ series. When you take into account that the first was world-conquering British trip-hop favourite, Bonobo, the accolade is all the more impressive.
Kölsch first really began to turn heads in the scene with debut album ‘1977’, released (beguilingly) in 2013. Pleasing both house and techno fans alike, the release betrayed a penchant for deftly fusing emotion and energy. The album title referred to the year of the artist’s birth, while the tracks covered the themes of place and identity.
Rune Reilly Kölsch’s German-Irish parents brought him up mostly in the radical ‘Freetown’ district of Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s unsurprising that his second and third albums, ‘1983’ and ‘1989’ continued a focus on movement and travel.
‘The London-based club and series curators have retained Kölsch’s essential sound’
The fabric presents…Kölsch album that landed at the end of May is his first output away from Cologne label, Kompact. The London-based club and series curators gave Kölsch ‘complete freedom’ to retain his essential narrative and sound, yet the mixed recording is both a continuation of familiar themes and a sign of ever-maturing production.
The songs reflect a whirlwind past year for Kölsch that took in not just collaborations with Sasha and Damon Albarn but also a global tour that sprawled across four continents. The ten tracks are each inspired by and named after one of his flights.
‘US1873’ (New Orleans – Charlotte, North Carolina, if you’re interested), brings an airy, low-fi introduction to the mix, leading into the cinematic, tech-infused ambience of ‘LH479’ (Montreal – Frankfurt).
‘What fabric call ‘an alternative vision of techno’ shimmers into clear view’
What fabric call ‘an alternative vision of techno’ shimmers into clear view as the strings and piano melody of ‘SK1550’ (Amsterdam – Copenhagen) lays an innocence and wonder over the ever-present beat.
Unsurprisingly for this series, there are bigger, clubbier moments too. Single ‘AC1609’ (Florida – Montreal) segues from science-fiction soundtrack territory to house-heavy synth stabs on the way to a bass-laden climax.
The album runs to an hour in total, building a pensive picture out of disparate sonic episodes. The collaboration, although not teaching us anything we didn’t already know about Kölsch’s status as a soon-to-be-heavyweight of the genre, delivers in all the right ways.
by Luke Davis
Photography: Jos Kottmann